Iowa law requires licensees and registrants to complete continuing education in order to renew their licenses and registrations. To find continuing education courses, you can ask to be placed on the mailing list for your professional association or ask to be on the mailing list for your local community college or dental college. A list of sponsors is also available here.
In order for subject matter to be acceptable, it must meet the guidelines as established in Iowa Administrative Code 650--Chapter 25. Courses that are approved for dentists and hygienists are also approved for dental assistants. Licensees and registrants may only participate in clinical, "hands-on" portions of continuing education courses that fall within their scope of practice.
650—25.5(153) Acceptable programs and activities.
25.5(1) A continuing education activity shall be acceptable and not require board approval if it meets the following criteria:
a. It constitutes an organized program of learning (including a workshop or symposium) which contributes directly to the professional competency of the licensee or registrant and is of value to dentistry and applicable to oral health care; and
b. It pertains to common subjects or other subject matters which relate to the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, or dental assisting which are intended to refresh and review, or update knowledge of new or existing concepts and techniques, and enhance the dental health of the public; and
c. It is conducted by individuals who have sufficient special education, training and experience to be considered experts concerning the subject matter of the program. The program must include a written outline or manual that substantively pertains to the subject matter of the program.
25.5(2) Types of activities acceptable for continuing dental education credit may include:
a. A dental science course that includes topics which address the clinical practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, dental assisting and dental public health.
b. Courses in record keeping, medical conditions which may have an effect on oral health, ergonomics related to clinical practice, HIPAA, risk management, sexual boundaries, communication with patients, OSHA regulations, and the discontinuation of practice related to the transition of patient care and patient records.
c. Sessions attended at a multiday convention-type meeting. A multiday convention-type meeting is held at a national, state, or regional level and involves a variety of concurrent educational experiences directly related to the practice of dentistry.
d. Postgraduate study relating to health sciences.
e. Successful completion of a recognized specialty examination or the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination.
f. Self-study activities.
g. Original presentation of continuing dental education courses.
h. Publication of scientific articles in professional journals related to dentistry, dental hygiene, or dental assisting.
i. Delivery of volunteer dental services without compensation through a free clinic, the purpose of which is the delivery of health care services to low-income or underserved individuals.
25.5(3) Credit may be given for other continuing education activities upon request and approval by the board.
Unacceptable Subject Matter
650—25.6(153) Unacceptable programs and activities.
25.6(1) Unacceptable subject matter and activity types include, but are not limited to, personal development, business aspects of practice, business strategy, financial management, marketing, sales, practice growth, personnel management, insurance, and collective bargaining. While desirable, those subjects and activities are not applicable to dental skills, knowledge, and competence. Therefore, such courses will receive no credit toward renewal. The board may deny credit for any course.
25.6(2) Inquiries relating to acceptability of continuing dental education activities, approval of sponsors, or exemptions should be directed to Advisory Committee on Continuing Dental Education, Iowa Dental Board, 400 S.W. 8th Street, Suite D, Des Moines, Iowa 50309-4687.
While some of these courses may be desirable, subjects that do not directly relate to dental skills, knowledge, or competence, are ineligible for credit for renewal of a license or registration.
You should also note that information listed on this web site refers only to the requirements of the Iowa Dental Board for license or registration renewal. You may have different requirements to renew specialty certification, national certification, or to meet other federal requirements. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires dental employees to complete at least one hour yearly in an OSHA update course, or as soon as possible when there are changes in procedures or job assignments.
The number of hours awarded for each course depends on the length of the course. For example, participants at a three hour course usually receive three hours of credit. This may vary, however, if portions of the course are not eligible for credit. For example, a four hour course that discussed patient communication skills (an acceptable topic) for two hours and covered personnel management (a topic ineligible for continuing education credit for the purposes of renewal) for the remainder of the time would receive only two hours of credit. In all cases, the course sponsor should provide you with proof of attendance that indicates the number of continuing education credit hours awarded.
The Board has established certain limits on the number of hours awarded for various activities. Keep these points in mind when calculating the number of hours you have earned each biennium.
- Attendance at convention-type meetings (like the annual session convention held every May or the ADA annual meeting) is awarded 1.5 hours of credit per day, with a maximum of six hours per biennium. The hours of credit are for registration and attendance at the meeting, additional credit can be claimed for attending the continuing education courses offered at the meeting.
- Four hours of credit is allowed for presenting an original table clinic at a convention meeting, as verified by the sponsor.
- Two hours of credit is awarded for attendance at the table clinic session of a convention meeting, as verified by the sponsor.
- 15 hours of credit per semester is awarded for postgraduate study relating to health sciences.
- 15 hours of credit is awarded for successful completion of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) for dental assistants, or completing a recognized specialty exam.
- Self-study or home study activities including television viewing, video programs, correspondence work, or computer programs, are limited to a maximum of 12 hours per biennium. You cannot, however, obtain abuse training from an out-of-state provider. These courses must cover the specific requirements of Iowa law.
- Original presentation of continuing dental education credit shall result in credit double that what the participant receives. Credit is not awarded for repeating presentations, or for presentations that are part of normal teaching or academic duties.
- Publications of scientific articles in professional journals related to dentistry, dental hygiene, or dental assisting shall result in a maximum of five hours per article, maximum of 20 hours per biennium.
- Duplicate credit cannot be claimed for completing the same course in a biennium.
All licensees and registrants may complete a maximum of 12 hours of self-study activities every renewal period. Self-study activities are defined as follows:
“Self-study activities” means the study of something by oneself, without direct supervision or attendance in a class. “Self-study activities” may include Internet-based coursework, television viewing, video programs, correspondence work or research, or computer programs that are interactive and require branching, navigation, participation and decision making on the part of the viewer. Internet-based webinars which include the involvement of an instructor and participants in real time and which allow for communication with the instructor through messaging, telephone or other means shall not be construed to be self-study activities.
Extensions and Exemptions
Illness and Disability
In cases of illness or disability, licensees and registrants can apply for an extension or exemption of the continuing education requirements. Written application must be made on forms approved by the Board. A licensed physician must also sign the form. The Board may require the applicant to make up a certain portion or all of the minimum education requirements.
Other Extensions and Exemptions
The Board also issues individual extensions or exemptions in the following cases:
- The current biennium renewal period, or portion thereof, following original issuance of a license or registration (first renewal in Iowa);
- Periods that a person serves honorably on active duty in military services;
- Periods that a person practices the person’s profession in another state having a continuing education requirement, and the licensee or registrant meets all of the requirements of that state;
- Periods that a person is a government employee working in the person’s licensed or registered specialty and assigned to duty outside the United States; and
- Other periods of active practice and absence from the state approved by the Board
Persons who qualify for the above exemptions or extensions can mark the appropriate spot on the form for renewal. You must still obtain training in identification and reporting of dependent adult and/or child abuse and submit proof of current certification in CPR (unless issued an exemption from CPR in cases of disability).
Reporting Continuing Education
Continuing education is reported at the time of license or registration renewal. Approximately 60 days before your license or registration expires, you will receive an email, notifying you about renewal. As part of the renewal, licensees and registrants must report the number of continuing education hours completed, and the dates that the mandatory abuse training, unless they qualify for an exemption or extension. Licensees and registrants must provide the expiration date of the current CPR certification. A copy of the CPR card must be provided to the Board upon request. Licensees and registrants are not required to provide proof of continuing education unless requested by the Board.
Board rules require licensees and registrants to maintain a file of all continuing education courses attended. Licensees and registrants must maintain proof of attendance for four years after the year of attendance. The Board routinely audits renewals and may require licensees and registrants to show proof of all hours claimed for renewal. If a renewal is selected for audit, licensees and registrants must provide proof of the continuing education claimed. Failure to document enough continuing education hours could result in possible disciplinary action of a license or registration. If a licensee or registrant loses copies of the proof of attendance forms, you should contact the course sponsor(s) for duplicate copies or other evidence of hours completed.